NanoEthics

, Volume 1, Issue 2, pp 89–104 | Cite as

Social and Ethical Interactions with Nano: Mapping the Early Literature

Original Paper

Abstract

There is a rapidly expanding field of research on social and ethical interactions with nano-scaled sciences and technologies. An important question is: What does social and ethical research actually mean when it is focussed on technological applications that are largely hypothetical, and a field of science spread out across multiple disciplines and lacking unification? This paper maps early literature in the field of research as a way of answering this question. Our aim is to describe how this field is developing in response to its difficult task, and particularly, to comment on the topics of focus and where there is potential for future development. We present four topical categories, labelled Governance, Perception, Science and Philosophy, and use these as a tool to both map the field and to analyse its development. We find a majority of literature currently focused on issues of governance and perception, and offer suggestions for why this might be so. We then discuss cross-category themes of definition, novelty and interdisciplinarity, highlighting diverse positions and a problematic lack of direct debate. Our conclusion is that the field would benefit from more interaction, cross-referencing and creative research across traditional fields of inquiry.

Keywords

Definition ELSA Interdisciplinarity Mapping Nanotechnology Novelty SEIN 

References

  1. 1.
    Allhoff F, Lin P (2006) What’s so special about nanotechnology and nanoethics? Int J Appl Philos 20:179–190Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Altmann J (2004) Military uses of nanotechnology: perspectives and concerns. Secur Dialog 35:61–79CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    ANSI (2005) American National Standards Institute’s Nanotechnology Standards Panel (ANSI-NSP) brochure. ANSI, New York, NY.http://www.ansi.org/standards_activities/standards_boards_panels/nsp/overview.aspx?menuid=3. Cited 21 Jun 2007
  4. 4.
    Bainbridge WS (2002) Public attitudes toward nanotechnology. J Nanopart Res 4:561–570CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Balbus JM, Denison R, Florini K, Walsh SA (2006) Getting nanotechnology right the first time. In: Hunt G, Mehta M (eds) Nanotechnology – risk, ethics and law. Earthscan, London, pp 130–138Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Balbus JM, Florini K, Denison RA, Walsh SA (2007) Protecting workers and the environment: an environmental NGO’s perspective on nanotechnology. J Nanopart Res 9:11–22CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Baird D, Vogt T (2006) Societal and ethical interactions with nanotechnology [SEIN]: an introduction. Nanotechnol Law Bus 1:391–396Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Baird D, Shew A (2004) Probing the history of scanning tunneling microscopy. In: Baird D, Nordmann A, Schummer J (eds) Discovering the nanoscale. IOS Press, Amsterdam, pp 145–156Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Baird D, Nordmann A, Schummer J (eds) (2004) Discovering the nanoscale. IOS Press, AmsterdamGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Ball P (2003) 2003: nanotechnology in the firing line. IOP Publishing, Bristol, UK.http://nanotechweb.org/articles/society/2/12/1/1. Cited 16 Apr 2007
  11. 11.
    Berne RW (2004) Towards the conscientious development of ethical nanotechnology. Sci Eng Ethics 10:627–638CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Berne RW (2006) Nanotalk. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, New JerseyGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Bernett J, Carr A, Clift R (2006) Going public: Risk, trust and public understanding of nanotechnologies. In: Hunt G, Mehta M (eds) Nanotechnology – risk, ethics and law. Earthscan, London, pp 196–211Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Berube DM (2004) The rhetoric of nanotechnology. In: Baird D, Nordmann A, Schummer J (eds) Discovering the nanoscale. IOS Press, Amsterdam, pp 173–192Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Berube DM (2005) Nano-hype: the truth behind the nanotechnology buzz. Prometheus Books, Amherst, NYGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Blättel-Mink B, Kastenholz H (2005) Transdisciplinarity in sustainability research: diffusion conditions of an institutional innovation. Int J Sustain Dev World Ecol 12:1–12CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Bueno O (2006) The Drexler-Smalley debate. In: Schummer J, Baird D (eds) Nanotechnology challenges – implications for philosophy, ethics and society. World Scientific Publishing, Singapore, pp 29–48Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Clift R (2006) Risk management and regulation in an emerging technology. In: Hunt G, Mehta M (eds) Nanotechnology – risk, ethics and law. Earthscan, London, pp 140–153Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Cobb MD (2005) Framing effects on public opinion about nanotechnology. Sci Commun 27:221–239CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Cobb MD, Macoubrie J (2004) Public perceptions about nanotechnology: risks, benefits and trust. J Nanopart Res 6:395–405CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Colvin VL (2003) Public policy and the environmental implications of nanotechnology. Abstr Pap–Am Chem Soc 225:U952Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    de Vries MJ (2006) Analyzing the complexity of nanotechnology. In: Schummer J, Baird D (eds) Nanotechnology challenges – implications for philosophy, ethics and society. World Scientific Publishing, Singapore, pp 165–179Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Dupuy JP, Grinbaum A (2006) Living with uncertainty: towards the ongoing normative assessment of nanotechnology. In: Schummer J, Baird D (eds) Nanotechnology challenges – implications for philosophy, ethics and society. World Scientific Publishing, Singapore, pp 287–314Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Ebbesen M, Andersen S, Besenbacher F (2006) Ethics in nanotechnology: starting from scratch? Bull Sci Technol Soc 26:451–462CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Economic & Social Research Council (2003) The social and economic challenges of nanotechnology. Report. Economic & Social Research Council, UK.http://www.esrc.ac.uk/ESRCInfoCentre/Images/Nanotechnology_tcm6-5506.pdf. Cited 17 Apr 2007
  26. 26.
    Einsiedel EF, Goldenberg L (2006) Dwarfing the social? Nanotechnology lessons from biotechnology front. In: Hunt G, Mehta M (eds) Nanotechnology – risk, ethics and law. Earthscan, London, pp 213–221Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    ETC Group (Action Group on Erosion, Technology and Concentration) (2003). The big down. Report. ETC Group, Canada.http://www.etcgroup.org/documents/TheBigDown.pdf. Cited 17 Apr 2007
  28. 28.
    ETC Group (Action Group on Erosion, Technology and Concentration) (2003). No small matter II: the case for a global moratorium. Size matters! Newsletter. www.etcgroup.org/upload/publication/165/01/occ.paper_nanosafety.pdf. Cited 17 Apr 2007
  29. 29.
    European Commission (2004) Towards a European strategy for nanotechnology, communication from the commission (Brussels, European Communities. Report). European Commission, Brussels. ftp://ftp.cordis.europa.eu/pub/nanotechnology/docs/nano_com_en_new.pdf
  30. 30.
    Fielder FA, Reynolds GH (1994) Legal problems of nanotechnology: an overview. South Calif Interdiscip Law J 3:593–629Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    FoE (Friends of the Earth) (2006) Nanomaterials, sunscreens and cosmetics: small ingredients, big risks. Report. http://www.foe.org/camps/comm/nanotech/nanocosmetics.pdf. Cited 17 Apr 2007
  32. 32.
    Frewer L, Scholderer J, Bredahl L (2003) Communicating about the risks and benefits of genetically modified foods: the mediating role of trust. Risk Anal 23:1117–1133CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Gaskell G, Ten Eyck T, Jackson J, Veltri G (2005) Imagining nanotechnology: cultural support for technological innovation in Europe and the United States. Publ Underst Sci 14:81–90CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Glimell H (2003) Challenging limits: excerpts from an emerging ethnography of nano physicists. In: Fogelberg H, Glimell H (eds) Bringing visibility to the invisible: towards a social understanding of nanotechnology, STS research reports no. 6. Goteborg Universitet, Sweden, pp 115–137Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Glimell H (2004) Grand visions and Lilliput politics: staging the exploration of the ‘Endless Frontier’. In: Baird D, Nordmann A, Schummer J (eds) Discovering the nanoscale. IOS Press, Amsterdam, pp 231–246Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Gordijn B (2005) Nanoethics: from utopian dreams and apocalyptic nightmares towards a more balanced view. Sci Eng Ethics 11:521–533CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Gorman ME, Groves JF, Shrager J, Baird D, Schummer J (2004) Societal dimensions of nanotechnology as training zone: Results from a pilot project. In: Baird D, Nordmann A, Schummer J (eds) Discovering the nanoscale. IOS Press, Amsterdam, pp 63–73Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Grunwald A (2005) Nanotechnology – a new field of ethical inquiry? Sci Eng Ethics 11:187–201CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Hayles NK (2004) Nanoculture: implications of the new technoscience. Intellect Books, Bristol, UKGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Hansson SO (2004) Great uncertainty about small things. Techne: Res Philos Technol 8:10–35Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    Haugaard Jakobsen C, Hels T, McLaughlin WJ (2004) Barriers and facilitators to integration among scientists in transdisciplinary landscape analyses: a cross country comparison. For Policy Econ 6:15–31Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    Hennig J (2006) Changes in the design of scanning Tunneling Microscoic images from 1980 to 1990. In: Schummer J, Baird D (eds) Nanotechnology challenges – implications for philosophy, ethics and society. World Scientific Publishing, Singapore, pp 143–163Google Scholar
  43. 43.
    Hessenbruch A (2006) Beyond truth: pleasure of nanofutures. In: Schummer J, Baird D (eds) Nanotechnology challenges – implications for philosophy, ethics and society. World Scientific Publishing, Singapore, pp 357–382Google Scholar
  44. 44.
    Howard CV, Ikah DSK (2006) Nanotechnology and nanoparticle toxicity: a case for precaution. In: Hunt G, Mehta M (eds) Nanotechnology – risk, ethics and law. Earthscan, London, pp 154–166Google Scholar
  45. 45.
    Hunt G (2006) Nanotechnologies and society in Europe. In: Hunt G, Metha M (eds) Nanotechnology-risk, ethics and law. Earthscan, London, pp 92–104Google Scholar
  46. 46.
    International Organization for Standardization (ISO) (2005) ISO launches work on nanotechnology standards. ISO, Geneva, Switzerland.http://www.iso.ch/iso/en/commcentre/pressreleases/archives/2005/Ref980.html. Cited 21 Jun 2007
  47. 47.
    Irwin A, Michael M (2003) Science, social theory and public knowledge. Open University Press, MaidenheadGoogle Scholar
  48. 48.
    Johnson DG (2007) Ethics and technology ‘in the making’: an essay on the challenge of nanoethics. NanoEthics 1:21–30CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. 49.
    Kearnes M, Macnaghten P, Wilsdon J (2006) Governing at the nanoscale: people, policies, and emerging technologies. Demos, LondonGoogle Scholar
  50. 50.
    Khushf G (2004) A hierarchical architecture for nano-scale science and technology: taking stock of the claims about science made by advocates of NBIC convergence. In: Baird D, Nordmann A, Schummer J (eds) Discovering the Nanoscale. IOS Press, Amsterdam, pp 21–33Google Scholar
  51. 51.
    Kulinowski K (2004) Nanotechnology: from wow to yuck? Bull Sci Technol Soc 24:13–20CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. 52.
    Kuzma J (2006) Moving forward responsibly: oversight for the nanotechnology–biology. J Nanopart Res 9:165–182CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. 53.
    Laszlo P (2004) Is there life after Partington? Hyle: Int J Philos Chem 10:169–178Google Scholar
  54. 54.
    Laurent J, Petit JC (2006) Nanoscience and their convergence with other technologies: new golden age or apocalypse? In: Schummer J, Baird D (eds) Nanotechnology challenges – implications for philosophy, ethics and society. World Scientific Publishing, Singapore, pp 249–286Google Scholar
  55. 55.
    Lawrence RJ, Despres C (2004) Futures of transdisciplinarity. Futures 36:397–405CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. 56.
    Lee CJ, Scheufele DA, Lewenstein BV (2005) Public attitudes toward emerging technologies – examining the interactive effects of cognitions and affect on public attitudes toward nanotechnology. Sci Commun 27:240–267CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. 57.
    Lewenstein BV (2006) What counts as a ‘Social and ethical issue’ in nanotechnology? In: Schummer J, Baird D (eds) Nanotechnology challenges – implications for philosophy, ethics and society. World Scientific Publishing, Singapore, pp 201–216Google Scholar
  58. 58.
    Lin-Easton PC (2001) It’s time for environmentalists to think small – real small: a call for the involvement of environmental lawyers in developing precautionary policies molecular nanotechnology. Georgetown Law Rev 14:106–134Google Scholar
  59. 59.
    López J (2006) Bridging the gaps: science fiction in nanotechnology. In: Schummer J, Baird D (eds) Nanotechnology challenges – implications for philosophy, ethics and society. World Scientific Publishing, Singapore, pp 327–356Google Scholar
  60. 60.
    Macnaghten P, Kearnes MB, Wynne B (2005) Nanotechnology, governance, and public deliberation: what role for the social sciences? Sci Commun 27:268–291CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. 61.
    Macoubrie J (2006) Nanotechnology: public concerns, reasoning and trust in government. Publ Underst Sci 15:221–241CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. 62.
    Mehta M (2006) From biotechnology to nanotechnology: what can we learn from earlier technologies? In: Hunt G, Mehta M (eds) Nanotechnology – risk, ethics and law. Earthscan, London, pp 121–129Google Scholar
  63. 63.
    Milburn C (2004) Nanotechnology in the age of post-human engineering: science fiction as science’. In: Hayles NK (ed) Nanoculture: implications of the new technoscience. Intellect Books, Bristol, UK, pp 109–130Google Scholar
  64. 64.
    Mills K (2006) Nanotechnologies and society in the USA. In: Hunt G, Mehta M (eds) Nanotechnology – risk, ethics and law. Earthscan, London, pp 74–90Google Scholar
  65. 65.
    Mills K, Fleddermann C (2005) Getting the best from nanotechnology: approaching social and ethical implications openly and proactively. IEEE Technol Soc Mag 24:18–26CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. 66.
    Mody CCM (2006) Small, but determined: technological determinism in nanoscale. In: Schummer J, Baird D (eds) Nanotechnology challenges – implications for philosophy, ethics and society. World Scientific Publishing, Singapore, pp 95–130Google Scholar
  67. 67.
    Moor JH, Weckert J (2004) Nanoethics: assessing the nanoscale from an ethical point of view. In: Baird D, Nordmann A, Schummer J (eds) Discovering the nanoscale. IOS Press, Amsterdam, pp 301–310Google Scholar
  68. 68.
    Morgan K (2005) Development of a preliminary framework for informing the risk analysis and risk management of nanoparticles. Risk Anal 25:1621–1635CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. 69.
    Munshi D, Kurian P, Bartlett RV, Lakhtakia A (2007) A map of the nanoworld: Sizing up the science, politics, and business of the infinitesimal. Futures 39:432–452CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. 70.
    National Nanotechnology Initiative (2000) What is nanotechnology? National Nanotechnology Initiative, USA. http://www.nano.gov/html/facts/whatIsNano.html. Cited 28 Jun 2007
  71. 71.
    National Science Foundation (2006) Nanotechnology definition. National Science Foundation, Arlington, VA. http://www.nsf.gov/crssprgm/nano/reports/omb_nifty50.jsp. Cited 28 Jun 2007
  72. 72.
    Nanoforum (2004) Benefits, risks, ethical, legal and social aspects of nanotechnology. In: 4th nanoforum report. Nanoforum, Europe. http://www.nanoforum.org/dateien/temp/ELSIPart%201.pdf?28112006121105. Cited 17 Apr 2007
  73. 73.
    Nicolau D (2004) Challenges and opportunities for nanotechnology policies: an Australian perspective. Nanotechnol Law Bus 1:1–17Google Scholar
  74. 74.
    Nordmann A (2004) Molecular disjunctions: staking claims at the nanoscale. In: Baird D, Nordmann A, Schummer J (eds) Discovering the nanoscale. IOS Press, Amsterdam, pp 51–62Google Scholar
  75. 75.
    Nordmann A (2004) Converging technologies: shaping the future of european societies. Report of the High Level Expert Group “Foresighting the New Technology Wave”. European Commission Research, BrusselsGoogle Scholar
  76. 76.
    Nordmann A (2006) Noumenal technology. In: Schummer J, Baird D (eds) Nanotechnology challenges – implications for philosophy, ethics and society. World Scientific Publishing, Singapore, pp 49–72Google Scholar
  77. 77.
    Pitt JC (2006) When is an image not an image? In: Schummer J, Baird D (eds) Nanotechnology challenges – implications for philosophy, ethics and society. World Scientific Publishing, Singapore, pp 131–141Google Scholar
  78. 78.
    Pohl C (2005) Transdisciplinary collaboration in environmental research. Futures 37:1159–1178CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. 79.
    Pullin J (2003) Good and evil. Prof Eng 16:29Google Scholar
  80. 80.
    Preston CJ (2006) The promise and threat of nanotechnology: can environmental ethics guide us? In: Schummer J, Baird D (eds) Nanotechnology challenges – implications for philosophy, ethics and society. World Scientific Publishing, Singapore, pp 217–248Google Scholar
  81. 81.
    Ravetz J (1971) Scientific knowledge and its social problems. Clarendon Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  82. 82.
    Reinert K, Andrews L, Keenan R (2006) Nanotechnology nexus – intersection of research, science, technology, and regulation. Hum Ecol Risk Assess 12:811–818CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. 83.
    Renn O, Roco MC (2006) White paper on nanotechnology risk governance. International Risk Governance Council (IRGC), Geneva. www.nsf.gov/crssprgm/nano/reports/irgc06_wp.pdf. Cited 17 Apr 2007
  84. 84.
    Renn O, Roco MC (2006) Nanotechnology and the need for risk governance. J Nanopart Res 8:153–191CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. 85.
    Roberts JA (2004) Deciding the future of nanotechnologies: legal perspectives on issues of democracy and technology. In: Baird D, Nordmann A, Schummer J (eds) Discovering the nanoscale. IOS Press, Amsterdam, pp 247–255Google Scholar
  86. 86.
    Roco MC, Bainbridge WS (2001) Societal implications of nanoscience and nanotechnology. Kluwer Academic Publisher, Dordrecht/National Science Foundation, USAGoogle Scholar
  87. 87.
    Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering (2004) Nanoscience and nanotechnologies: opportunities and uncertainties. Royal Society/Royal Academy of Engineering, LondonGoogle Scholar
  88. 88.
    Schiemann G (2004) Dissolution of the nature-technology dichotomy? Perspectives on nanotechnology from an everyday understanding of nature. In: Baird D, Nordmann A, Schummer J (eds) Discovering the nanoscale. IOS Press, Amsterdam, pp 209–213Google Scholar
  89. 89.
    Schiemann G (2006) Nanotechnology and nature: on two criteria for understanding their relationship. In: Schummer J, Baird D (eds) Nanotechnology challenges – implications for philosophy, ethics and society. World Scientific Publishing, Singapore, pp 73–94Google Scholar
  90. 90.
    Scheufele DA, Lewenstein BV (2005) The public and nanotechnology: How citizens make sense of emerging technologies. J Nanopart Res 7:659–667CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  91. 91.
    Schmidt JC (2004) Unbounded technologies: working through technological reductionism of nanotechnology. In: Baird D, Nordmann A, Schummer J (eds) Discovering the nanoscale. IOS Press, Amsterdam, pp 35–50Google Scholar
  92. 92.
    Schummer J (2004) Multidisciplinarity, interdisciplinarity, and patterns of research collaboration in nanoscience and nanotechnology. Scientometrics 59:425–465CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  93. 93.
    Schummer J (2004) Interdisciplinary issues in nanoscale research. In: Baird D, Nordmann A, Schummer J (eds) Discovering the nanoscale. IOS Press, Amsterdam, pp 9–20Google Scholar
  94. 94.
    Schummer J (2006) Societal and ethical implications of nanotechnology: meanings, interest groups, and social dynamics. In: Schummer J, Baird D (eds) Nanotechnology challenges – implications for philosophy, ethics and society. World Scientific Publishing, Singapore, pp 413–449Google Scholar
  95. 95.
    Stilgoe J (2007) Nanodialogues: experiments in public engagement with science. Demos, LondonGoogle Scholar
  96. 96.
    Sweeney AE (2006) Social and ethical dimensions of nanoscale science and engineering research. Sci Eng Ethics 12:435–464CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  97. 97.
    Toumey C (2005) Apostolic succession. Eng Sci 68:16–23Google Scholar
  98. 98.
    Toumey C (2006) Narratives for nanotech: anticipating public reactions to nanotechnology. In: Schummer J, Baird D (eds) Nanotechnology challenges – implications for philosophy, ethics and society. World Scientific Publishing, Singapore, pp 383–411Google Scholar
  99. 99.
    Toumey C, Baird D (2006) Building nanoliteracy in the university and beyond. Nat Biotechnol 24:721–722CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  100. 100.
    US Senate (2003) 21st Century Nanotechnology Research and Development Act. Passed on 18 November. US Senate, USA. http://www.cbo.gov/showdoc.cfm?index=4390&sequence=0. Cited 16 Apr 2007
  101. 101.
    Weckert J (2001) The control of scientific research: the case of nanotechnology. Aust J Prof Appl Ethics 3:29–44Google Scholar
  102. 102.
    Wickson F, Carew AL, Russell AW (2006) Transdisciplinary research: characteristics, quandaries and quality. Futures 38:1046–1059CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  103. 103.
    Wilsdon J (2004) The politics of small things: nanotechnology, risk, and uncertainty. IEEE Technol Soc Mag 23:16–21CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  104. 104.
    Wilsdon J, Willis R (2004) See-through science: why public engagement needs to move upstream. Demos, LondonGoogle Scholar
  105. 105.
    Wynne B (2001) Creating public alienation: expert cultures of risk and ethics on GMOs. Sci Cult 10:445–481CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for the Study of the Sciences and the HumanitiesUniversity of BergenBergenNorway

Personalised recommendations